Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Eliza and the Bethlem Royal Hospital: Julie Gets Choked Up

TODAY’S BREW: Something from Costa Rica. Or Target.

By Julie

THERE IS A BIT OF A RUNNING AWAY  SPOILER IN HERE. IF YOU ARE AFRAID, TURN BACK NOW.

I’m hot and heavy into the sequel to RUNNING HOME, and RUNNING AWAY has become a part of me. Eliza has grown, transformed, and her new life has been forged in a lot of suffering. When writing this book, I needed to pay close attention to keeping the tone and themes of it as dark and complex as Eliza has become, so when I wrote the scene of her first feeding as one of the Shinigami vampires, I needed to make it more than just a bloodfest. Embracing a little darkness when writing a vampire scene isn’t always hard, but keeping it a thing of beauty and depth without any form of eroticism is a bit more difficult. It needed to be significant, symbolic. The first feeding needed to carry a lot of the tone of the book, and so I took my sweet ass time working on it.

I knew where I wanted her first feeding to occur, and there is plenty of reason for it which I won’t be so cruel as to divulge to you now. It had to be a place that had patched-over horror, hidden ugliness in plain sight. It needed to be dank, riddled with ghosts, melancholy and be the variety of dirty that can’t be cleaned. And I wanted a pinnacle of light and glistening freshness in the middle of it that couldn’t escape her fate, no matter how brightly she glowed in its dimness.

http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

Inspiration for my Bethlem Royal Hospital scene. The Kitchen. http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

I was so disturbed by the research I did on the Bethlem Royal Hospital of London (http://wp.me/p2x7oj-j7 ) for our March Madness blog series last year that it never left my thoughts. I wanted to do more to commemorate what had happened there, to show my respect for this terrible piece of history the best way I knew how; to write about it. When the idea hit me to make it the scene of Eliza’s first feeding, it worked itself in so perfectly that I breathed a mental sigh of relief to write it. Now that it’s done, and the end of the book is just a series of falling dominoes, my pride in this scene is a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m kind of a jerk about it in my head. I love this scene and all the subtext to it, the meaning it has for all the characters–I just can’t wait to share it.

This Flash Fiction Friday, I’ll let you see it. I’m desperate to share it, and also entirely horrified about letting go of it. It still feels so much a part of me, entrenched in me. But I promise to loosen the grip, and give you some of this scene come Friday. Unless you don’t want me to. Then say so and I shall cling to it like a tiny life preserver for a while longer.

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